On Friday, April 10, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) began distribution of $30 billion in grants to hospitals and providers as part of the $100 billion fund authorized by the CARES Act. These are direct payments, not loans, that have no repayment obligations and may have already been delivered to you via direct deposit. For more details, read HHS’ summary of the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.
All health care facilities and providers that received Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) payments in 2019 are eligible for these initial payments. No action is required from physicians to receive these payments. Note that this is only the first wave of funds under the $100 billion. HHS has said forthcoming distributions will focus on providers with lower shares of Medicare FFS reimbursement or who predominantly serve the Medicaid population.
Payment distribution amounts are determined by the eligible provider’s share of 2019 Medicare FFS reimbursements. For example, if a Medicare provider with a Taxpayer ID Number (TIN) accounted for 1% of total Medicare FFS spending in 2019, the TIN would receive 1% of the $30 billion. Funds will be distributed to the eligible provider’s billing TIN using direct deposit information on file with United, Optum, or Medicare (with “HHSPAYMENT” or “HHS Stimulus” as the payment descriptor), or via paper check if that is normally how you receive reimbursement. Providers must attest to receipt of the funds and agree to certain terms within 30 days of payment. Attestation will be via a portal available on April 13.
We have heard some concerns related to the terms and conditions associated with acceptance of the grant funds, as some of the specific terms and conditions are ambiguous and unclear. We expect HHS will issue subsequent guidance, such as FAQs and fact sheets, in the coming days or weeks. We also hope to receive guidance on how the funds can be used, including how to address potential overlap with other funding programs like the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Stay tuned to Advocacy Insider and our COVID-19 NewsBrief for updates.